At A Glance
Rose Bikes may not be the first name that trips off the tongue when you ask anyone about big bike brands, nor are they even that well known when talking about the convenient and expanding world of mail order bikes. However, do your research, and you’ll find a company steeped in history and offering a banquet of bike build options - light years ahead of the one-spec-fits-all philosophy of the vast majority of other top bike builders.Buy Trail Bikes on
Rose Bikes may not be the first name that trips off the tongue when you ask anyone about big bike brands, nor are they even that well known when talking about the convenient and expanding world of mail order bikes. However, do your research, and you’ll find a company steeped in history and offering a banquet of bike build options - light years ahead of the one-spec-fits-all philosophy of the vast majority of other top bike builders.
Cast even the briefest of glances across the German manufacturer’s website, and you’ll soon discover an almost endless supply of bike types, colours and equipment options. And from that veritable smorgasbord comes a range of trail bikes designed to plug any gap in the market, covering a variety of wheel sizes and end uses. 2017 saw the updates of both the Granite Chief and the Root Miller, tweaking geometry to bring them up to speed with current angles and lengths. As this is written, they have just launched the Pikes Peak, their first carbon framed bike. Rose is on the move.For its latest incarnation the Root Miller has gained in the travel department, the progression from 130mm to 140mm of squish both front and rear offering riders an extra psychological advantage on rough terrain as well as a physical improvement to meet the demands of modern do-it-all trail bike owners.
For its latest incarnation the Root Miller has gained in the travel department, the progression from 130mm to 140mm of squish both front and rear offering riders an extra psychological advantage on rough terrain as well as a physical improvement to meet the demands of modern do-it-all trail bike owners.
Added to this is the increase in length to the top tube, giving an improved and up-to-date feeling geometry that makes for a roomy and reassuringly well set out cockpit.
The build on test here featured some excellent kit, contributing to a surprisingly low overall weight that left us scratching our heads when considering the burly look of the boxy frame. With SRAM Guide RSC brakes taking good care of the stopping power this bike featured a well specced 1x11 drivetrain adorned with X01 carbon fibre cranks and rear mech.
The more than capable Fox 34 Float fork is a welcome addition to any 29er, making sure that our confidence in the bike’s ability to track through the rough stuff was there from the start. The Fox 34 is now a worthy and dependable trail fork, far beyond its earlier attempts from a few years back.
On The Trail
Life with the Root Miller was immediately pretty cruisy, with the fast rolling 29” wheels eager and ready to power over rough rocky ground, both up and down the hills. The Miller is tipped by Rose as a ‘touring-oriented’ trail bike, and that was something which immediately became apparent as the lightweight build of our test rig showed a willingness to spring forward with every pedal stroke; the blocky, robust looking frame transferring power well to the big back wheel.
It was the wheels that really set this well thought out build apart, however, with the extremely lightweight and rigid DT Swiss XM1501s offering a superb blend of stiffness and weight with their 30mm internal width and boost spacing. The fast, direct pick up of these wheels was especially noticeable when freewheeling along-side other riders, with the Root Miller galloping eagerly along to eat up the distance.
Climbing too was a joy on the bike, the seat angle placing the rider in the sweet spot above the cranks - in just the right position to keep both front and rear tyres on the ground up technical climbs. Again, with the wheels and transmission working well in tandem to convert the effort into forward momentum.
The wide, solid front end with its 800mm bar inspired confidence over rough ground allowing rock gardens and roots to be charged through and dispatched efficiently. As a complete package the long wheelbase, great wheels and solid suspension set up combined to create a bike which is right at home smashing head long into roots and rocks.
The combination of that inspiring front end together with the rock munching abilities of the large wheels made the Root Miller a hoot to ride through fast, technical straight line trails and even dared to tempt us to ride harder and faster into loose turns, getting right over the reassuring front wheel.
Throwing the Miller at steeper, rougher ground than it is perhaps set up for showed this bike up as a more than capable - if not outstanding - performer. While it was no 160mm super stiff sled, it certainly felt more than happy over steep, loose, chunky descents.
It's worth noting that this is still very much trail bike, no matter how flattering and capable the ride is. The low, stable bottom bracket and long reach do wonders to inspire confidence, but the head angle is still firmly in the trail category and did manage to catch us out on a few occasions. This usually came on the steepest of trails where trail bikes rarely venture, and just lacked that raked out feel needed for confidence. The head angle is spot on for a bike of this nature, and the speedy steering on singletrack is awesome, the lively and manoeuvrable ride is fully engaging and a ton of fun. It's a perfect example of what a modern trail bike should be, and is not attempting to be an enduro bike in disguise. For smashing out miles and going deep into the mountains, the Root Miller is a classy and capable machine.
The biggest issue with this otherwise superb bike came from the flimsy, paper-light Continental Mountain King II Race Sport tyres, which repeatedly lost air and wept sealant through the side walls. A shame, given the good grip, trail feedback and low weight on offer. These were ditched early on a replaced with a Magic Mary and a Rock Razor, which were an absolute dream on this bike, giving superb grip to attack with on the front, and a fast rolling rear to compliment the sheer speed of the Miller is every direction.
Trail bikes have taken a back seat to the overwhelming dominance of 'enduro', but this is a prime example of a trail bike done well. Fast handling, efficient pedalling and confidence inspiring geometry. The Root Miller does everything you could ask of a trail bike, plus a bit more. It’s not the most playful bike out there and nor does it pretend to be, but as a one-bike-to-rule-them-all solution, it offers speed mile-munching and confidence by the bucket load.
This review was in Issue 49 of IMB.For more information visit Rose Bikes
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By James SwannOriginally from Sheffield, James lives and works in the mountain bike mecca that is the Lake District and has been falling off bikes since he was six. In between working on bike events, riding bikes, racing bikes and writing about bikes he enjoys talking about bikes with anyone who will listen. He really likes bikes.